The most recent acoustic concert in the Tonight at the London Coliseum series features the star of Beautiful: the Carole King Musical and & Juliet, Cassidy Janson. Having already watched her livestream from her house earlier in the year, and seen her live in the intimate setting of the Coliseum’s Balcony Bar back in February, I have become familiar with her choice of songs, and this concert very much focuses on the crowd-pleasers and big-hitters.
It remains a sad feeling to see any show broadcast from an empty space where an audience should be, however large or small. The beautiful Coliseum auditorium is lit up in reds, golds, and blues but without an audience there is a lack of energy and atmosphere. Janson, however, is a likeable and perceptive performer, and brings warmth to the stage alongside a stripped-down band. Her musical director Adam Dennis is on the piano, and Adam Goldsmith plays guitar. Together they conjure up a cosy, cabaret vibe despite the huge ranges of seating visible behind them.
Opening with the King classic, “I Feel The Earth Move”, Janson moves effortlessly through a set which returns again and again to the songwriter-muse, but also touches on songs by Bob Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, and from the most recent film version of A Star is Born. Listening to the lyrics there is a story of resilience being crafted, of a woman who knows her place in her career and who is confident in delivering it. From her debut album, the new song When a Woman is playful, but focused, while the quartet of King songs which close the concert – finishing, of course, with (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – brings us full circle.
Janson is growing constantly as a performer and this concert is a fine reminder of the work she has done (including the Leading Ladies collaboration with Beverley Knight and Amber Riley). She doesn’t need flashy gimmicks, and the Coliseum venue lit up again with just a little bit of sparkle and stage magic for the fifty minutes she was out there, entertaining us.
The Tonight at the London Coliseum concerts are a series of one-off streams, with tickets available at £15 each – for future concerts, see https://www.stream.theatre/home Cassidy Janson’s concert was streamed on 2nd October 2020.
Reviewer: Louise Penn
Reviewed: 3rd October 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★